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The Gulf’s big bet on creative economy

tech-company
bitangendemo-ima

Summary

  • The ceative economy is now being recognised by governments and non-state actors as a leading driver of growth, and a sector that can enhance innovation.
  • At the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) in Dubai last week, the creative economy was a key focus of discussions.
  • Mayada Badr, CEO of the newly formed Culinary Arts Commission in Saudi Arabia, said: “Food is an essential part of every culture and history.

The creative economy is now being recognised by governments and non-state actors as a leading driver of growth, and a sector that can enhance innovation.

At the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) in Dubai last week, the creative economy was a key focus of discussions.

Mayada Badr, CEO of the newly formed Culinary Arts Commission in Saudi Arabia, said: “Food is an essential part of every culture and history.

At the Culinary Arts Commission, we are proud of our unique and diverse culinary heritage and seek to promote it locally and globally.

To do so, we will showcase the unique Saudi culinary traditions and position the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a destination for the culinary arts.”

Unlike other sectors, creative industries empower individuals to think, act and take charge of their own development. It animates the kind of creativity that can lead to inclusive, long-term growth.

Countries that have properly nurtured the industry have discovered that it is a source of socio-economic advancement, job creation and innovation.

It is in this regard that the Gulf states in an attempt to diversity their economies have taken a keen interest in the creative sector.

Saudi Arabia, in particular, has already created several commissions to find new meaning especially in culinary, fashion and gaming.

These commissions have dedicated resources to codifying each subsector before developing it with the aim of internationalising their creations.

The commission becomes the reference, developer, enabler, and regulator for the sector by setting up work mechanisms, providing the necessary licences to those interested and working in it, as well as encouraging financing and investment in projects to create jobs and enterprises for the population.

Additionally, the commission supports and motivates workers to create content that reflects their interest and passion in the culinary arts. Besides, it works to classify restaurants, chefs, and dishes, along with registering and writing down Saudi dishes’ recipes, then publishing them locally and internationally.

The government is doing the same with other creative sectors such as fashion and gaming.

The Gulf governments are also empowering their citizens to create jobs and turn culture into products.

They realised, for example, that complaining about gaming from other countries is an exercise in futility while there exist several local games that have not been digitised and marketed to the world.

Latest report by Research and Markets reveals that the global culinary tourism market was worth $1,116.7 billion in 2019 and is predicted to be worth $1,796.5 billion by 2027, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.8 percent from 2020 to 2027.

Increased government attempts to encourage tourism are fuelling the expansion of culinary tourism.

According to the Research and Markets report, while the global gaming market was worth $167.9 billion in 2020, and was expected to reach $ 287.1 billion by 2026, growing at CAGR of 9.24 percent between 2021-2026.

Similarly, the global fashion market was worth $25.09 billion in 2020 and was expected to grow to $30.58 billion in 2021 at CAGR of 21.9 percent.

Even though Africa’s slice of this creative economy pie is still very small (less than one per cent), it has some leading lights to show the way. Nigeria’s rambunctious film industry, Nollywood, exports to the continent and beyond.

Industry officials claim it’s the country’s second-largest employer after agriculture. Senegalese musicians, combining traditional musical styles with modern recording, have gained a foothold in the global market through sales and tours.

It is time to leverage the concept of mass customisation and begin to develop new industries especially in the creative sectors that empower individuals to think, act and take charge of their own development.